Glybera®, the first gene therapy approved in the western world
In November 2012, the Dutch SME uniQure received approval from the European Commission for the gene therapy Glybera® (alipogene tiparvovec), a treatment for patients with lipoprotein lipase deficiency. Global print and broadcast media (Reuters TV) covered the approval and its potential impact on patients.
LPL deficiency is a rare, genetic disease, which can result in inflammation of the pancreas, an extremely painful and potentially lethal condition. LPL deficiency is just one of a total of 5,000-8,000 rare diseases, most of them genetic.
Worldwide 400 million people suffer from a rare disease
To date, approximately 70 so-called orphan drugs have been approved in the EU, and 400 in the US. The approval of Glybera® represents a major step forward in making gene therapies routinely available for smaller patient groups in the future.
Improve access to quality healthcare in Africa
On 20 February 2013, Philips launched “Fabric of Africa”, a pan-African initiative seeking to improve access to quality healthcare for the 500 million women of Africa. The company considers these women as the thread that holds the fabric of Africa together.
Reflecting the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals, Philips’ efforts are focused on three areas: tackling the problem of non-communicable diseases, strengthening maternal, newborn and child healthcare and invigorating infrastructure, technology and training. To maximize impact, Phillips closely collaborates with regional organizations and is happy for similarly committed parties to join.
An already on-going collaboration that illustrates the ambitions of Philips is the partnership with the US organization Imaging the World. The alliance has introduced a ground-breaking solution to diagnostic care in remote areas of Uganda by integrating advanced, easy-to-use ultrasound systems with a dedicated education program and a network of skilled experts. During a one-year period a 70% increase in the number of antenatal visits and deliveries at Nawanyago clinic was observed, compared to the previous year. It allows early detection of pregnancy-related complications, leading to a reduction in both maternal and fetal mortality rate.
Dutch Index ranks pharmaceutical efforts on Access to Medicine
The Access to Medicine Index aims to stimulate a positive change by publicly encouraging the top 20 pharmaceutical companies to step up their efforts to improve access to medicine worldwide.
It is the result of a multi-stakeholder dialogue, including input from global health experts, investors and big pharma itself. The Index was initiated by the Dutch entrepreneur Wim Leereveld in 2008 and receives financial support from the Dutch and UK governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To provide a balanced picture of pharma companies' access to medicine activities, every two years the Index measures seven technical aspects such as R&D activities, pricing schemes, and patents and licensing policies.
The work of the Access to Medicine Index has been covered in a short documentary by Dutch television (with English subtitles). It clearly illustrates the positive impact that pharmaceutical companies can have on healthcare.